This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
Not many hotels have played a hand in bringing down a president, which is why the Watergate Hotel is one of the nation’s most infamous places to spend a night.
Now the landmark hotel has reopened to guests with a wink and a nod to its fabled past.
The Washington, D.C. hotel earned its place in history thanks to a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972, which were housed in the hotel’s adjoining office complex.
The burglary became a national scandal when it turned out that President Richard Nixon's administration had tried to cover up its involvement in the crime. The Watergate Scandal, with a name taken from the hotel, resulted in Nixon’s resignation from office.
The hotel originally opened in 1967, but has been closed for renovations since 2007. It was purchased by Euro Capitol Properties in 2010, and now, after a
The $125-million renovation maintained the building’s original Luigi Moretti-designed façade, but entirely transformed the interior.
While the hotel has all the modern amenities — Nespresso coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, rooftop bar — it also has details that hint at its storied past. It starts with the key cards, emblazoned with the tongue-in-cheek phrase, “No Need to Break In,” and continues on through to the staff uniforms, which were designed by Mad Men costume mastermind Janie Bryant.
Guests are free to take the pens in the hotel rooms, branded with the phrase “Stolen from The Watergate Hotel.”